President Obama signed a short-term stopgap measure into law Saturday that will keep the federal government operating through Dec. 18. 

It was passed by the House Wednesday and cleared by the Senate Thursday night, just a day before the current continuing resolution was set to expire.  

It's another in a series of temporary extensions passed by Congress given the failure of lawmakers to pass a formal budget for the new fiscal year. 

House and Senate Democrats want to push through an omnibus spending package or a continuing resolution through the end of fiscal year 2011, Sept. 30, to lock in spending at their desired levels. 

Republicans, on the other hand, would prefer a short-term extension, probably until early March, to apply spending cut pressure next year when they take over the House majority. 

-Vicki Needham contributed to this post.